Born in a poor neighborhood of Sao Vicente, Brazil, in 1984, the young Robinho began playing soccer almost as soon as he could walk. At the age of six, he helped his local soccer academy team to win the championship in his first year, and at eight, he moved on to the indoor game known as futsal. Quickly snapped up by Brazilian club Santos, he signed professional forms at 17. His form brought him to the attention of top European clubs, but he would have to wait until 2005 for a move to giants Real Madrid. Robinho scored 14 goals in his first season in La Liga, but differences with the manager saw him spend most of 2006 — 7 on the bench. He fought his way back into the starting 11 and soon was the subject of intense transfer speculation, with Chelsea rumored to be on the brink of securing his signature. An incredible last-minute swoop by Manchester City stunned fans and commentators alike, and he scored his first Premier League goal on his debut just two weeks later. Robinho’s style and Brazilian flair have reinvigorated the Manchester City side, and his goals have been invaluable to Mark Hughes’s team.
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